NFL Draft rewind: Eagles draft future Hall Of Fame safety Brian Dawkins
22 Years ago, Eagles drafted a young free safety out of Clemson named Brian Dawkins.
In 1996, the NFL Draft took place on April 20th and the 21st. That;s a tad different from the three day event we have now. The 1996 draft also produced a huge number of future Hall of Fame players, including Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and future Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and safety Brian Dawkins..
Prior to the 2018 regular season, Owens and Dawkins will both be enshrined in Canton.
How is it that Dawkins wasn’t taken in round one?
It’s hard to believe the hard-hitting, nine-time pro bowler and five-time first team all pro free safety wasn’t a first round pick. Well, it is. Isn’t it?
Dawkins was drafted in the second round by the Eagles with 61st-overall selection. Philadelphia’s first round pick was offensive tackle Jermane Mayberry at pick number 25.
‘Dawk’ makes an impact as a rookie.
At the time, the future Hall of Fame Safety’s job was to replace Eric Zomalt. Dawkins, as a rookie, recorded 75 tackles, one sack and three interceptions in the 14 games he appeared in during the 1996 season.
This would only be the start of impressive and legendary career for the man who would be nicknamed “Weapon X” for his aggressive play and hard-hitting playing style.
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Then, came the Jim Johnson years.
In 1999, The Eagles hired Andy Reid, a former assistant coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Reid brought in Jim Johnson to be the new defensive coordinator of his new team. It was a move that turned out to be one of his best decisions. Johnson inherited a defense full of playmakers and turned them loose.
Under Johnson, the defensive backfield flourished, led by “Weapon X”. Dawkins racked up 78 tackles, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions (one was returned for a touchdown), six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
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He’d be voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time and named to the Second All-Pro team that same year. In 2002, he became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, and a touchdown reception in one game.
The fierce defensive captain helped lead the Eagles to five NFC East Division titles, four NFC Championship Game appearances and one Super Bowl appearance.
When his career in Philly ended, he had started 182 of the 183 games he appeared in. He had amassed 34 interceptions, 32 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries (one was returned for a touchdown), 21 sacks and 707 tackles.
A great era ends.
In 2009, the veteran safety took his talents to the Denver Broncos. There, he signed a five-year, $17 million dollar contract with the team. In the three years with the Broncos, Dawkins had three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, five sacks and 188 tackles.
Dawkins was named to two Pro Bowls while in Denver ( 2009 & 2011), and he was named a First-team All-Pro in 2009.
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‘Dawk’ will always be an Eagle.
In 2012, Dawkins signed a one-day contract with the Eagles, and with that, one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game of football, retired as an Eagle. Some say he should have never left in the first place.
Philly would later announce that no other player would ever wear the legendary number 20 jersey that Dawkins donned for the 13 years he was on the team.
In 2016, Dawkins took on arole on the Eagles’ scouting staff. Later that year, he was given a new role, Executive of Football Operations for Player Development.
2017-18 season was a great year for the former Eagles safety. He didn’t just earn a Super Bowl ring as part of the front office staff. He was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not bad for a second rounder.